Sunday, February 4, 2018

Now’s the time to engage! What to do (and track) this legislative session

Now until February 14 is a critical time to act!

2018 bills that disability advocates should know about:


Crowd cheering at January 31 Advoacy Day
Still taken from 2018 Self-Advocacy and Disability Pride Day video
The state legislature is at the halfway point. Bills had to clear policy committees February 2 and need to clear fiscal committees by February 6.* Legislators will spend much of the next two weeks in floor action, voting on bills to meet a house of origin deadline on February 14.

Bills that clear these cutoffs go to the opposite chamber - House to Senate, Senate to House - for another round of committee hearings, before advancing to floor action. If a bill passes the second chamber, any changes made to it must be reconciled with the first chamber.

Budget proposals from the House and Senate are expected after February 15, when the state’s revenue forecast will be released.

* Bills considered necessary to pass the budget (or “NTPB”) can be considered up until the budget has passed.


Look through the bills that disability advocates should know about (links at top of the blog). Decide which ones you like, or don’t, and contact your legislators about them.

It’s easy.

ONLINE: Click on the button COMMENT ON THIS BILL that is on every bill page. It will take you to a page where you can type in your address; then it will ask if you are pro, con or other and ask for a short message. This will be sent to your legislators. All the bill numbers noted in our wrap-ups link to the bill pages.

BY PHONE: You can also call the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000. Be ready to give them the bill number and your position on it. Messages will be forwarded to your elected representatives.

FOR TTY-ASSISTANCE: Any legislative number can be reached via the state Telephone Relay Service at 1.800.833.6384 (voice) or 1.800.833.6388 (TTY).


Every person in the state lives in a legislative district. Each district has two state representatives and one state senator. These are separate from the people who represent you at the federal level. Your state representatives and state senator vote on what bills should become laws and they vote on the state budgets. They represent your interests.

To understand what you need, they need to hear from you!

Click on LEGISLATIVE for state leaders. (You can also find your federal district and leaders here. Click on CONGRESSIONAL for federal leaders.)

Washington State Legislature resources:


Public hearing: People can testify to the committee considering the bill.

Executive action: The committee votes on whether to recommend a bill. It is also when amendments or substitute bills will be considered by committees.

Appropriations/Ways and Means: Bills that will cost money need to be heard by the fiscal committee. These committees write and pass budget proposals. In the House, this committee is Appropriations. In the Senate it is Ways and Means.

Rules: If a bill gets a do-pass from its policy committee (and when applicable, the fiscal committee) the Rules Committee decides whether and when to bring it to the chamber for a vote. This is also when final amendments are proposed.

NOTE: Bill pages will give you all relevant links - the bill, any analysis, any substitutes, any hearings available on TVW. They will tell you where in the process a bill is. There is a place to comment on the bill and a way to get email notifications about the bill. (Click here for a sample bill page)

- Ramona Hattendorf
Director of Advocacy
The Arc of King County